APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
ORLEANS PARISH NO. 391-148, SECTION "J" Honorable
Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney Orleans Parish Donna
Andrieu Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR STATE OF
Ceasar #388150 Louisiana State Prison CBB U 1R #3 Angola,
Louisiana 70712 RELATOR/ PRO SE
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge
Paula A. Brown
F. Love, Judge
Relator Robert Ceasar ("Mr. Ceasar") seeks review
of the trial court's September 13, 2017 denial of his
amended motion to correct an illegal sentence. Mr. Ceasar
seeks resentencing pursuant to Miller v. Alabama,
567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), that
was made retroactive by Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577
U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016). The holdings
in Miller and Montgomery do not apply to
Mr. Ceasar, who was 18 years old at the time he committed
second-degree murder, the offense for which he was convicted.
Additionally, Mr. Ceasar offers no new rule of law or newly
discovered evidence under La. C.Cr.P. art. 930.8, nor does he
show he received an illegal sentence. Accordingly, the writ
is granted; however, relief is denied.
HISTORY AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
October 2, 1997, Mr. Ceasar was found guilty as charged of
second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment
at hard labor without benefit of parole. This Court later
affirmed Mr. Ceasar's conviction and sentence. State
v. Ceasar, unpub., 98-0010 (La.App. 4 Cir.
9/29/99), writ denied, 99-3216 (La. 4/20/00), 752
2016-K-1064, Mr. Ceasar's writ of mandamus concerning his
motion to correct an illegal sentence was transferred to the
trial court for consideration. The trial court then granted
the motion for the limited purpose of conducting a hearing.
Initially, Mr. Ceasar sought resentencing pursuant to
Miller, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held a
mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility for early release imposed upon a juvenile
offender under the age of 18 violated the Eighth Amendment.
Mr. Ceasar believed that he was under the age of 18 when he
committed the homicide for which he was convicted. A copy of
Mr. Ceasar's birth certificate indicated that based on
his birthday he was 18 years old at the time of the crime.
Mr. Ceasar, through counsel, filed an amended motion to
correct an illegal sentence that was summarily denied on
September 13, 2017. Mr. Ceasar seeks this Court's
supervisory review of the trial court's denial of his
amended motion to correct an illegal sentence.
an application for post-conviction relief, a motion to
correct an illegal sentence is never time-barred. La. C.Cr.P.
art. 882(A). "[W]hether a particular sentence is legal
or illegal is a question of law. Thus, a district judge's
legal determination of the legality or illegality of a
particular sentence, like any other question of law, is not
entitled to our deference." State v. Gibson,
16-0132, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/16/16), 192 So.3d 132, 135.
Therefore, we review the district court's ruling de
amended motion, Mr. Ceasar avers that there is no distinction
based on science between him and someone who is under the age
of 18. He claims that the same science relied on by the
Miller court demonstrates that the neurological
maturation process continues well into a young person's
twenties. Accordingly, Mr. Ceasar asserts that he is entitled
to a new sentencing hearing.
United States Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, 543
U.S. 551, 125 S.Ct. 1183 (2005), a case cited in Miller
and relied upon by Mr. Ceasar, acknowledged that "the
qualities that distinguish juveniles from adults do not
disappear when an individual turns 18." Id.,
543 U.S. at 574, 125 S.Ct. at 1197. Likewise, in
Miller, the United States Supreme Court observed the
unique qualities and characteristics of juveniles,
explaining: "youth is more than a chronological fact. .
. . It is a moment and condition of life when a person may be
most susceptible to influence and to psychological damage. .
. . And its signature qualities are all transient."
Miller, 567 U.S. at 467, 132 S.Ct. at 2467 (internal
citations omitted). However, the Roper court
observed, as did Miller, that "[t]he age of 18
is the point where society draws the line for many purposes
between childhood and adulthood." Roper, 543
U.S. at 574, 125 S.Ct. at 1197-98. Mr. Ceasar has presented
nothing new or persuasive that would warrant a change in that
conclusion. Cf. Atkins v. ...